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By: walkerdog, Tyler Walker
Oct 12 2011 9:45am
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Deluxeicoff PMed me the other day asking what formats I was playing.  I said that I was drafting primarily these days.  He mentioned that Deluxe Red was still racking up DE wins and 3-1s.   I wondered to myself, "Why don't I play pauper?"  I realized that before M12, pauper had been paying out M11 packs that were almost worthless.  With the M12 packs somewhat valuable now (around 10 tix for a set of three) and the queue valid for months ahead, I decided that I needed to dive on in at least once.  Next I looked at the top decks. 

I knew that Olivier Ruel's UWB Storm deck had been killed by bannings, so I went to results to see what the meta looked like.  Imagine my surprise when I saw that Olivier (or maybe Antoine depending on the day) was still ringing up 4-0s with the thing.  Funny.  Deluxe Red was a contender too, alongside WW, MBC, MUC, and Burn.  I immediately gravitated to MBC.  I have loved this deck going back to Pauper PREs before the format was sanctioned!


Pre-sanctioned Pauper goodness
4 Chittering Rats
4 Crypt Rats
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Ravenous Rats
4 Twisted Abomination
4 Warren Pilferers
24 cards

Other Spells
4 Corrupt
4 Innocent Blood
4 Tendrils of Corruption
12 cards
19 Snow-Covered Swamp
3 Swamp
2 Barren Moor
24 cards

4 Nausea
4 Duress
4 Last Gasp
2 Okiba-Gang Shinobi
1 Grim Harvest
15 cards
Ravenous Rats

Please not the ridiculous Warren Pilferers on the top-end of the curve; a technology that I then ported to Standard PDC events in an effort to outgrind Teachings decks (with mixed results to be honest).

The modern versions have picked up some better removal and made some slight changes to the deck to adapt to the current metagame.  Twisted Abomination is both too slow and unnecessary these days.  Graveyard recursion now tends to take the form of one of my all-time favorite cards, Unearth.  Unearth was in my decks back when I started casually playing MTG.  It was a great tool for my awesome awful tribal Zombies deck, recurring almost everything in the deck! 

I played a few 2mans last night to re-learn some things and appreciate how insane ol' Unearth is in this deck.  For a single mana (and it might as well be colorless given my mana-base...) I get the critter of my choice from the GY.  Stunningly to me, this was relevant against unlikely decks like MonoGreen poison... you could simply outtempo them by paying 1 mana to either wrath their team with Crypt Rats, play another blocker while eating their hand/draw a card and still have mana for removal for their guys. 

Tendrils of Corruption aren't what they used to be.  They used to be MBC's I-Win button.  There is so much "Sacrifice a creature" and "Protection from..." in the format now that it's a valuable tool, but hardly gamebreaking the way it once was.  I cut two down to two.  I could see running three at times, or as few as 0 in the right meta.


Pre-sanctioned Pauper goodness
4 Ravenous Rats
2 Okiba-Gang Shinobi
3 Crypt Rats
1 Phyrexian Rager
1 Phyrexian Rager
2 Phyrexian Rager
4 Chittering Rats
17 cards

Other Spells
4 Geth's Verdict
2 Grasp of Darkness
2 Tendrils of Corruption
4 Sign in Blood
4 Corrupt
2 Unearth
2 Disfigure
20 cards
23 Swamp
23 cards

4 Wrench Mind
2 Befoul
3 Echoing Decay
1 Befoul
1 Choking Sands
3 Duress
1 Duress
15 cards

I would think about cutting Tendrils for one Liliana's Specter, one Unearth, and one removal spell (2 out of those 3 I mean).

I started in Round One against basdao.  He went first.  I kept one of each type of Rats and 4 Swamps.  He led with a Forest and a Glistener Elf then passed.  I played my land.  He had a second Elf and a Tranquil Thicket.  I played Ravenous Rats.  He played Rancor and another Elf and attacked.  I blocked the Rancor'd guy.  I should have blocked the NON-buffed guy as I'm taking 3 poison either way.  He saved his guy with Mutagenic Growth.  I played Crypt Rats.  He traded his Rancor'd guy with my Rats.  I played Crypt Rats and Wrathed.  He had a Lotus Petal and a Blight Mamba.  I Unearthed Chittering Rats and passed back with four mana up.  He Rancor'd his guy and passed back.  I played Rav Rats (getting nothing) and shipped it back.

He attacked into my Ratty men and I blocked with Chittering Rats.  He regen'd.  I drew Verdict, popped his guy, Ninja'd back my Rats and got his Rancor and his... CONCESSION!  I sided out a Tendrils and a Sign in Blood for two Echoing Decay.  The correct way to side vs them I think is -2 Tendrils, -1 Ninja for three Decays.

Game two saw me keep a speculative 1-lander with three Ravenous Rats and Echoing Decay.  I drew Disfigure, and then 5 more spells to die on turn 6.  Fun.  My fault though.

Game three was a mull to six (so I didn't keep a SECOND 1-lander) and a keep of two Swamps, a Verdict, Rav Rats, and two Corrupt.  He had no turn 1 play, so I got to Rats him getting a Forest.  He had Glister Elf, while I followed with Chittering Rats.  He cycled Tranquil Thicket in response.  Rancor went on his Elf, and Mutagenic Growth saved it from my Chitterers.  Then he played Blight Mamba.  I killed his Elf with Echoing Decay.  My Rats blocked his Rancor-having Mamba, and he Regen'd.  I drew Disfigure and you guessed it!  I Disfigured his ugly snake.  We played draw-go for a bit.  He played an Ichorclaw Myr.  I used Echoing Decay on my turn, only to see it countered by his Apostle's Blessing.  He tried Rancor, but I used Verdict to stop that crap.

So I was 1-0 so far.  Round two saw me paired with a mysterious Zwischenzug.  I say mysterious because I was too stupid to bother looking back to see what his deck was!  I kept three Rav Rats, a Swamp, Sign in Blood and a Tendrils.  He led with Gitaxian Probe and a Forest, then passed.  I played land and passed... on EOT he cycled Tranquil Thicket.  He played a land and passed again.  Umm.  My Rats got a Groundswell.  He Probed me again and passed.  I felt pretty good at this point.

I kept hitting lands and playing Rats (Forest, Rancor) and used Sign in Blood on T4.  He did nothing.  Nice durdling!  I killed him on Turn six. 

Game two was interesting.  I sided as I thought I should above.  I kept two lands, Verdict and three Ragers.  I drew a Verdict, a Ravenous Rats, and 0 lands going 15 cards into my deck and died!  Ummmmmm.  I guess the two-lander was a LITTLE greedy but another land at any point let me blow him out.  Ah well!

I mulled to six in game three.  I kept two Ravenous Rats, two Swamps, Unearth and Sign in Blood.  He did nothing on turn one, so I Signed.  Turn two saw him play a Mamba.  I passed back and Verdict'd him after declaring no blockers.  He had another Mamba.  I played Crypt Rats and fired for one.  Mutagenic Growth saved him.  He played Rot Wolf and attacked.  I Unearthed the Rats, fired them for two, then played Ravenous Rats getting Groundswell.  He had Blight Mamba.  I played two Rats getting a Forest and a Groundswell.  He played Rancor on the snake and attacked.

I blocked with one Rats.  He had Invigorate to do 6 more poison to me.  I kept both Rats back and double-blocked.  He regen'd.  I untapped, drawing Grasp of Darkness and plowed his man with Corrupt (not to be confused with Plowed).  He cycled Tranquil Thicket, finding Glistener Elf, then "equipping" it with Rancor.  I drew Echoing Decay and used it on the Elf.  He had Rot Wolf.  I Grasped it.  We land-go'd a turn or two.  I drew Grasp, then Sign in Blood.  I Signed into two more lands.  Sweet!

He had Ichorclaw Myr and saved it with Vines of the Vastwood.  I drew Unearth and Unearthed my Crypt Rats, then fired it for three.  I had 7 mana available and he was at 15.  I should have fired it for five mana, leaving me two activations of Rats for one, and taking him down to 10 (a.e. 1 Corrupt from death).  I drew and played a Rager. He had Rot Wolf.  I Sign'd in Blood for a Verdict and a Rager!  Nice!  Geth decreed him dead, and Rager drew me (another) land.  Crypt Rats the next turn finished him off.

Round three and four were... non-eventful.  First the easy Goblins matchup was made easier by him timing out and then I split in the finals. I know that makes this report much shorter (and lamer) than it should have been, but what can you do?  Play it out idiot!  My bad.  I would probably go with -2 Tendrils, +1 Unearth, +1 Liliana's Specter if I changed anything, but the list felt pretty tight.  I did pick up two Choking Sands for my sideboard to replace a couple of the Befouls (Thank George!) and I'd like to tweak it to have 2 Befouls and 3 Choking Sands at some point, possibly cutting 1 Duress.  Wrench Mind was amazing; you don't really care about SBing vs Affinity all that much and you love blowing out the mirror and Blue-based decks with it.

Keep in mind the price of this deck.  I came out of the tournament with ~25ish tix in gain (after the entry fee).  I had fun, although the last two rounds were pretty pointless.  The deck is not expensive and smashes a lot of the meta, plus it is fun to play.  I hope you'll give pauper a try if you haven't yet and good luck if you already play it!  Thanks for reading!


NICE!!!!!!!!! by Mikey K159 at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 13:32
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I've been telling people that MBC is awesome right now! Congrats on how well you did. Glad to see someone else appreciates MBC.

Thanks! I went 2-2 by walkerdog at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 13:50
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Thanks! I went 2-2 yesterday, but it was my own fault for playing like a huge donk vs poison.

I need to start paupin' by apaulogy at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 14:42
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Would give me DEs to join in these in between periods of durdling around and waiting for new sets and ban lists to take effect.

Good article, Tyler

And I am pretty sure that Mikey K is just the stones.

I wouldn't say I'm the by Mikey K159 at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 15:50
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I wouldn't say I'm the stones. I just test MBC a lot! Although I'm still kind of surprised you played with wrench mind and okiba gang... I cut those so long ago and I really haven't ever thought of looking back.

Poison is still a huge problem in the format.

Reviewing your list and mine, by walkerdog at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 22:17
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Reviewing your list and mine, I think mine will eat up combo and aggro decks more while yours will do better against all types of control and midrange.

Stones by apaulogy at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 16:26
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Was more of a general statement about your existence and not necessarily tied to your play skill...

LOL by Mikey K159 at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 17:38
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I know what you meant. That's why I say I wouldn't call me the stones:).

wrench mind and okiba gang by GGG at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 16:41
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yea, that's pretty much what gives me headaches with storm. I see decays are useful also against infect, that's where storm gets that extra hate. Nice article! Love Pauper:)

Im sure I havent played with by NextLevelMTGCoaching at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 21:19
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Im sure I havent played with MBC as much as Mikey but I do like innocent bloods vs poison. Also, if you can stabilize, serrated arrows is nuts vs them as well.

Blood isn't awful, but given by walkerdog at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 22:13
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Blood isn't awful, but given Verdict and Grasp, combined with whatever else you want, it's a little clunky. Serrated Arrows is not a bad choice at all and I might have to consider it a little.

Actually on grasp. by Mikey K159 at Wed, 10/12/2011 - 23:48
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Innocent blood and really just edicts in general are how you beat poison. Edicts are also better vs UR Cloudpost because they take care of crusher... Also geth's verdict, hitting them for 1, can really make a large difference on the game.

To beat poison, from what I've gathered. You just need to make the game go as long as possible to where your crypt rats are dealing damage and corrupting for 8 or something along those lines.

I cut grasp along time ago because targeted removal isn't very good anymore. With white weenie having the 1/1, give protection guy and having obsidian acolyte after board. The targeted removal just becomes crap.

The acolyte is the reason I added serrated arrows to my sideboard. Its how you beat White weenie. Also as DJ said, you land it vs poison and you pretty much just win from there.

I'm not saying its the best strategy to cut grasp and disfigure. But it hasn't let me down and I've been doing this for a very long time and have a very good record with MBC because of it.

Flagbearers by apaulogy at Thu, 10/13/2011 - 10:15
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I think Flagbearers and Guardian of the Guildpact in WW are another good reason to run Edicts

I agree by Mikey K159 at Thu, 10/13/2011 - 13:09
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I agree, those also. Though Serrated arrows take's care of flagbearer nicely.

I know Corrupt get's a black by deluxeicoff at Sun, 10/16/2011 - 12:27
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I know Corrupt get's a black mage 'back in it' after losing lots of life...but 4 corrupts seems bad. I'd hate to see this in my opening hand, maybe in my opening 3 hands... It's like adding 40% likelyhood that you're going to mulligan - even if you keep a 7 land hand, if Corrupt is in it, your really at -1 card for 6 turns, and that's IF you don't get land screwed.

From lots of experience by Mikey K159 at Sun, 10/16/2011 - 21:52
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I don't ever think going less than 4 corrupt is correct at this point... This deck can stall for so much time to get to 6 land and corrupt is such a powerful spell... I can understand where it might seem like a 6 drop being played as a 4 of in a deck with only 23 land can look dumb.

But trust me. Its a lot more consistent than you might think